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Saving For Retirement On A Budget

Question: As a self-employed empty nester, what advice can you give to starting our retirement nest egg at this late date? My husband and I are both in our early 50’s. We would like something simple that we can contribute small ($50) amounts to at a time.
-Joy, PA

Answer: Joy, I did some digging for you but the challenge was in finding mutual fund families that have low minimums or no minimum investments required that can accommodate beginning investors. Here’s what I found out.

American Century’s (americancentury.com or 800-826-8323) Live Strong Portfolios and One Choice Portfolios have a $500 initial investment requirement. You can then make additional contributions in the amount of $100/month minimum. Once your account size has reached $2,500, their minimum threshold, you can make additional ongoing contributions for as little as $50 each time. There is no commission or load to invest in their funds.

Vanguard (vanguard.com or 877-662-7447) requires a $3,000 minimum investment on most funds, but does permit a $1,000 minimum investment in their Vanguard Star fund, which is an asset allocation fund. Once those initial requirements are met, you can make additional contributions as low as $50. There is no commission or load to invest in their funds and Vanguard is notorious for keeping their annual expenses really low.

T. Rowe Price (troweprice.com or 866-460-0169) may be your best bet if you cannot muster up the initial investments required by American Century or Vanguard. T. Rowe Price generally has a $1,000 minimum for IRA accounts and $2,500 for non-IRA accounts, but those minimums are waived when you have $50/month minimum deducted from a savings or checking account under their automatic asset builder program. There is no cost to enroll, $50/month is the minimum requirement, they are easy to deal with and their costs are very competitive.

Bill’s Bottom-line: It’s never too early or too late to start saving for retirement. Good luck and good investing!

Bill Losey, CFP®, CSA, America's Retirement Strategist®, is the resident retirement planning expert for CNBC's "On the Money". He coaches women and couples nationwide with their retirement planning and investment portfolios. Bill is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Making Work Optional and he also publishes Retirement Intelligence, a free weekly award-winning newsletter. He can be reached online at www.MyRetirementSuccess.com.

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